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First DEEPEND Cruise is Underway!

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The DEEPEND cruise on the R/V Point Sur is underway and currently at their first station!  We are out in the northern Gulf of Mexico until May 8th where we will be hoping to hit 8 stations during our journey.  This is the first time out for the ship's crew, first time using this MOCNESS net system on this ship, and first time to try out all of the science protocols that we have set up for our cruises. The first cruise of a survey is usually called the "shake down" cruise, designed to work out glitches that may come up during the trip with quick troubleshooting and lots of problem solving by the DEEPEND Team which is extremely important to set the stage for efficient future cruises.  We have quickly discovered, for example, that the internet is currently not reliable and Dante (on board) has sent me pictures to put into this blog so you can share our experience with us!  I am not on board but can relay questions to the DEEPEND Team if you've got any!  Post them and we can answer!

b2ap3_thumbnail_The-Point-Sur-GOM-Cruise-May-2015-LR-C.jpg The R/V Point Sur at the dock in Gulfport, MS

The team is at the first station working through the deployment of the MOCNESS net (Multiple Opening/Closing Net Environmental Sensing System) which is a multi-net system that drops into the water at the same time with each net settling at different depths from the surface down to 1500m..  We are going to collect all organisms from each of the 5 nets and take tissues samples, identify the crustaceans, fishes, and cephalopods, and freeze some animals for lab studies back on land.  We will detail our projects as the days progress. Stay tuned!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Checking-the-nets-GOM-Cruise-May-2015-LR-C.jpg  One of the MOCNESS nets being checked before assembled on the deck

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Prepping-the-spool-No1-GOM-Cruise-May-2015-LR-C.jpg  Team checking the spool of wire that will deploy the net system....  SO much cable!

So, post any questions you have about our journey!  Anything about life on a research ship, the science we're doing, what the crew does to run the ship, you ask it, we will try to answer the best we can!  There will be great pictures of the other equipment and of course, the animals once these nets come up!

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Dr. Heather Judkins is an associate professor in the Integrative Biology Department at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She received a Bachelors degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, Masters degree in Science Education from Nova Southeastern University and her PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on understanding the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of cephalopods with a main focus currently in the Wider Caribbean. Her role in this project includes the identification of deep-sea cephalopods, examining genetic diversity, and analysis of cephalopod ecology and distribution in the water column.
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  • Guest
    Jake, the SeaDog, WhaleTimes Saturday, 02 May 2015

    Dear DEEPEND Science Team,
    Good luck on your first mission! What animals are you most likely to collect on this first trip?

  • Heather Judkins
    Heather Judkins Saturday, 02 May 2015

    Hello, Jake! Great question... The net system we use is designed to collect juveniles and larvae of various deep sea fishes, crustaceans (shrimp, krill) and cephalopods (squids and octopods). The most fun for us is that we don't always know what will come up in the nets! Fishes could include dragonfishes, lantern fishes and hatchetfishes. Lots of deep-sea shrimp come up that are a deep red color and many of the squids we collect have bioluminescent photophores (light-producing organs). Stay tuned as I am sure the team will be sending along photos from the first trawls!

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